In the battle royal to be named U.S. Soccer president, Kathy Carter announced her candidacy in late December. The President of Soccer United Marketing, Carter said soccer can and should be the leading sport in the United States and that she intends to "make that vision a reality." Carter, a legitimate candidate and a contender to win in February, sat down with CBS Sports to talk about the issues facing U.S. Soccer, what she wants to accomplish and more.  

Carter hopes to replace Sunil Gulati in February. Submitted

What's the biggest problem facing U.S. Soccer?

Carter: I more so look at it that there is such great opportunity ahead of us. Like anything, when you have a misstep, in this case the men's failure to qualify for Russia, it allows us the opportunity to ask a lot of questions. Are we doing things not just well, but are we doing them good enough? What I would say about myself in terms of self diagnoses, I'm never satisfied.

Who are you leaning on or looking to for guidance and advice when it comes to potentially replacing Sunil Gulati?

Carter: My leadership style is about taking input from a lot of different people. What I'm finding is, there is no shortage of ideas with all the constituents of U.S. Soccer ... I have been incredibly encouraged by the depth and breadth of ideas and focus that actually exist within our universe already ... I'm excited about what I'm hearing.

What's the first order of business you want to take care of if elected? 

Carter: To me, it is about really making sure we've got a strategic plan on the technical side along with the business side ... But I think we need far more voices ... Having more athlete representation at the table and engaging the membership is something I am incredibly passionate about as we look to the future. Ultimately, one of the thing I'm stressing is I think we need a cultural shift in the federation.

We've seen the big differences in compensation when it comes to the men's and women's games, especially prize money at big events like the World Cup. We've also seen many U.S. women's national team players speak out on the topic. Where do you stand on the topic?  

Carter: Well, I've lived it my entire life ... Different voices around the table are incredibly important, which leads me to, of course, I believe in equal pay. There are ways the federations can affect that ... There is no question in my mind that our female athletes, in particular our women's national teams, have a host of trophies we haven't been to achieve on the men's side. They need to be revered for what they've done.

Due to its failure to qualify for the World Cup, many view the USMNT as the problem. But it's much more than that, and it starts at the lowest of levels where the game is taught. What would you say to help people understand that?

Carter: I think the federations and others have been focusing on the elite level development. ... There needs to be a real strategic task force on the youth development side ... It all starts on every community soccer field. That is where the journey begins for any athlete and any player.

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